Rethinking the global food system: S2G Ventures highlights trends impacting the future of food Ryan Daily

In its second annual report on the future of food published today, S2G Ventures explores​ how the food system in 2023 is adopting more sustainable practices and leveraging new technology to improve plant-based and alternative protein offerings, including using AI to identify and develop healthier novel ingredients and other technology to scale cell cultivation.

Adoption of automation, increased digitization and AI along with other technological advancements at the farm level also is essential for meeting consumer demand and overcoming labor challenges, the report argues. 

Responding to plant-based protein criticism with novel ingredients  

Today, consumers have become much more critical of plant-based proteins, their ingredient lists, and their “questionable nutritional content,​” S2G Ventures said. Two-thirds of consumers “choose foods made from clean ingredients” with many people defining clean as “not artificial or synthetic,​” according to International Food Information Council data shared in the report. Similarly, fewer consumers believe plant-based products have an environmental benefit, dropping 7% over the first three quarters, according to Brightfield Group data​.

To address these challenges, “it is time for another evolution in alternative protein,​” said S2G Ventures. This will include delivering “texture and the sensory experience while improving nutrition, removing undesirable additives and ingredients, and reducing costs,​” S2G Ventures said. Additionally, alternative proteins need to provide a “compelling ‘better-for-you and the planet’ argument,”​ the company said.

Alternative proteins are still in the iPod phase – not yet the iPhone phase. There [is] still tremendous progress to be had in this sector through the introduction of novel ingredients,​” said Sanjeev Krishnan, managing director of S2G Ventures.

The next evolution of plant-based protein also will include developing novel ingredients, leveraging AI platforms in the process, S2G Ventures said.

For instance, Mars entered a multi-year collaboration with AI food research company PIPA​ to find novel plant-based ingredients, while ICL Food Specialties has teamed up with AI food tech company Protera Biosciences to create protein ingredients with specific functionality for food manufacturers, the company shared.

[Editor’s Note: Interested in learning more about the future of plant-based meat and how the category can overcome slipping sales for long-term …


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